Marootian sets agenda

GW senior Jeff Marootian will replace GW graduate Stephen Mandelbaum as Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for district 2A06 in January after he gained 92 of 93 votes in an uncontested race Tuesday.

District 2A06 includes Munson Hall, JBKO, Fulbright Hall, Strong Hall, The Schenley, The President and other locations outsides campus limits.

Marootian said he will use his new position to unite the GW and Foggy Bottom community.

My plans are right away to start meeting with community leaders and University officials and outlining specific issues I am going to address, said Marootian.

He said he will work on issues such as the campus plan, contingenton the Board of Zoning Adjustment vote Nov. 15

Marootian said he wants to explore the possibility of implementing an undergraduate enrollment cap to ensure adequate academic space, but has not committed to a stance on the issue. GW has a cap of 20,000 total students, but does not restrict the number of undergraduate students the University can enroll.

Marootian said he believes the campus plan could accommodate the Foggy Bottom community a little more.

The University and the community have attempted to negotiate in a lot of areas and just in general the community appears to be disappointed, Marootian said. With that alone, the University should look at that and they should see how they can make improvements to work with the community.

Even though he ran unopposed, Marootian said he campaigned the same way he would if he had competition.

I’ve put out a mailer, and I’ve campaigned door-to-door, he said.

Marootian said he campaigned outside of the International Monetary Fund headquarters voting precinct from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. Tuesday while people cast their votes.

You’re running as yourself, not against someone else, Marootian said. I think it’s good to meet and talk to people I’m going to represent.

Marootian said D.C. residents have been pretty receptive to his candidacy.

In the past, the people have said ANC appears to be pretty radical, Marootian said. But it’s important to see how many people support students on an academic level. It’s an overwhelming majority. Very few residents are anti-students.

Still, some voters said their lack of choice on the ballot made a difference.

It’s hard to compare him to another candidate that doesn’t exist, said Matt Melnicki, a GW junior who voted for Marootian Tuesday. It was either vote for him or don’t vote for him or write a friend in.

Marootian said his student status contributed to his popularity among voters. He said being a student leader helped him meet and get to know students and community members and leaders.

Students agreed.

It makes me feel better that he’s a peer, Melnicki said.

Marootian is the third GW student to run for the ANC and the second to win.

In 1996, Sarah Goodyear, then a junior at GW, ran unsuccessfully for the ANC as a write-in candidate, according to a Nov. 7, 1996 Hatchet article. In 1998, Stephen Mandelbaum became the first GW student to be elected to the ANC, according to a May 17, 1999 Hatchet story.

The new commissioner also holds endorsements from ANC members.

(Marootian is) a very capable candidate who will represent Foggy Bottom well, said Richard Sheehey, an ANC commissioner for district 2A01 who leaves in January.

Elizabeth Elliott, commissioner-elect of district 2A01, said, I think he’s enthusiastic, and he will do a great job. He’s interested in the neighborhood. I hope he stays down here.

Jason Steinhardt contributed to this report.

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